VA Nursing Homes
Benefit Fact Sheet
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides nursing home services to Veterans through three national programs:
VA-owned and operated Community Living Centers (CLC)
State Veterans' Homes owned and operated by the states, and
Community Nursing Home Program.
Each of the VA nursing home programs has admission and eligibility criteria specific to the separate program. Nursing home care is available for Veterans who are enrolled in the VA health system who need nursing home care for service-connected disability, Veterans who have a 70% or greater service-connected disability, and Veterans with a rating of total disability based on individual unemployability.
VA-provided nursing home care for all other honorably discharged Veterans is based on available resources. Eligibility for Veterans without service-connected disabilities is highly dependent upon their household income, i.e. countable income after medical expenses can generally not exceed the maximum annual rate of a Veteran's Pension payable to a Veteran in need of regular aid and attendance ($27,609 for a Veteran without dependents and $32,729 for a Veteran with one dependent).
The general criteria for nursing home placement in each of the three programs require that Veterans must be medically and psychiatrically stable, i.e. not be acutely ill, have sufficient functional deficits to require inpatient nursing home care, and determined by an appropriate medical provider to need institutional nursing home care.
VA Community Living Centers: Community Living Centers (CLC) provide an array of short-stay and long-stay services. Short-stay services include but are not limited to skilled nursing, respite care, rehabilitation, hospice, and continuing care for Veterans awaiting placement in the community. Long-stay services include but are not limited to dementia care and continuing care to maintain the Veteran's level of functioning. Community Living Centers provide the following services:
24-hour skilled nursing care
Access to social work services
Geriatric evaluation and management
Some Community Living Centers provide additional services:
Mental health recovery care
Special care for Veterans with dementia or other cognitive deficits
Respite care (to provide primary caregivers temporary respite from day-to-day caregiving)
Palliative and hospice care for end of life
Most of the 100 VA Community Living Centers are specially designed wings of VA medical centers or separate facilities on or near the campuses of VA medical centers. Many are designed to resemble individual homes as much as possible, and Veterans are invited to decorate their rooms and may even allow pets to visit or live with them. The mission of Community Living Centers is to restore each Veteran to his or her highest level of well-being and to prevent declines in health and comfort at the end of life.
State Veterans' Home Programs: State Veterans homes are owned, operated and managed by state governments. To participate in the State Veterans Home program, VA must formally recognize and certify a facility as a State Veterans Home. VA then surveys all facilities each year to make sure they continue to meet VA standards. Once recognized as a state home by the VA, VA pays a portion of the daily operating costs if the state meets VA standards. The VA does not manage state Veterans homes.
Your eligibility for State Veterans Homes is based on clinical need and setting availability. Each State establishes eligibility and admission criteria for its homes.
Some State Veterans Homes may admit non-Veteran spouses and gold star parents while others may admit only Veterans. A recognized State Veterans Home may receive payments from VA to help defray the cost of care provided to Veterans. The cost to you varies by state. VA does not pay for care for non-Veterans.
Community Nursing Home Program: A Community Nursing Home is a place where Veterans can live full time and receive skilled nursing care any time of day or night. VA health care facilities establish contracts with community nursing homes. This program is specifically to allow Veterans who require care to receive it in their own communities, close to their families, while meeting the VA-established enrollment and eligibility requirements.
Community Nursing Home care always provides:
24-hour skilled nursing care (such as wound care or help with IV medication)
Occupational and physical therapy
Access to social work services
Some Community Nursing Homes also provide:
Short term rehab services
Hospice and palliative care for the end of life
Special care for dementia
Home and Community Based Services: In addition to nursing home care, VA offers a variety of other long-term care services either directly or by contract with community-based agencies. These services help chronically ill or disabled Veterans of any age remain in their homes. You can receive more than one service at the same time. Such services include:
Veterans receiving these services may be subject to a copay.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Geriatrics and Extended Care website:
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) State Veterans Homes website:
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Community Nursing Homes website:
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Community Living Centers website:
Home and Community Based Services website:
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) - VA Social Work:
National Care Planning Council State Veterans Homes Listing:
National Resource Directory:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - LongTermCare.gov